Although this challenge was on 'Modeling' I was enjoying the creation process so much I just had to add some textures. This is where I really started to surprise myself as it really helped improve my skills with Procedural textures.
I gathered all the reference material I collected online and began to study the textures in the photos. With a desert landscape you obviously get a lot of sand, dirt, and erosion so I began to experiment. I decided to try a Ramp texture for the wheels. I like the way you can connect any kind of texture into the Ramps Attributes, giving you the freedom to blend and mix multiple combinations in a gradient producing some interesting results. Maya's IPR came in handy while tweaking the textures, I couldn't imagine getting these results with out it...well, maybe not as fast. I continued to experiment with Procedurals, blending various Fractals, Brownians and Noise, eventually getting to what you see. I also used some images for the bump maps like the cloth and the floor texture, which looks a bit repetitive in some shots. I'll be fixing that.
This was my first true attempt at faking Global Illumination in Maya. I tried a couple GI tutorials that I found online but ended up using a simple setup which is probably not the best. The scene consists of 6 lights, 3 directional lights above, 1 point light and 2 ambient lights under the vehicle. I decided to use RayTracing to get a better feel. I’m still experimenting with the overall lighting and environment as you can tell. I still consider this a work in progress. ;-)
When It came time to set the vehicle up for animation things got a little sketchy. I couldn't find one tutorial dealing with Vehicle Rigging, let alone one for Maya -- and I didn't want to skeleton setup. Luckily someone had just released one in March. What timing! The tutorial also dealt with some weapons as well as a skeletal setup for shock absorbers, and a body control for a little bounce and sway. For some secondary animation I decided to add a spline IK to the back Radio Antenna. And while playing a video game called Smugglers Run, I noticed how the engines on the dune buggies shake and vibrate while idle so I decided to connect a circular curve to the engine group to see if i can recreate this effect later. Next up are some Particle Effects for the flying dirt, smoke and other goodies generated by this... beast. Im still trying to figure out a name for it. Any ideas?
I'm a 26 year old living in Toronto, born and raised. Ive been drawing since I was a kid, started working in graphic design back in '95 playing with programs like Alias Sketch, Strata Studio, and Bryce. I was introduced to Maya in 1999 while attending a Post Production Computer Animation course at The International Academy of Design here in Toronto. Im currently working on my second Reel, set to be released in July. Check my web site for more info.
Cydonian (Chris Smart's website)
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